Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Inuvik, NWT ~ The Great Northern Arts Festival

We had a short driving day today with 128 km (79 mi) ahead of us but with making one stop to enjoy a view plus the slow driving that the Dempster Highway demands, we arrived to Inuvik just after lunchtime.

Welcome to Inuvik, NWT
Inuvik is Canada’s northern most town and has a population of 3500 people.  It is the homeland to Inuvialuit, Gwich’in and Metis peoples but has become home to many non-Aboriginal, as well.  Inuvik offers 56 days of continuous daylight during these summer months.

Plenty of water on the Mackenzie Delta
Inuvik, which means “place of people” was first conceived in 1953 and became official in 1958.  It sits on the banks of the Mackenzie River and amid the ecosystem of the Mackenzie Delta which is made up of hundreds of lakes and channels that flow north into the Arctic Ocean.

Time to relax
We made our reservation at Happy Valley Park before we’d left on our Northern Adventure and would stay for 3 nights.  We got some grocery shopping done, and the prices were a bit shocking, to say the least!  But then again, we were 500 miles up the Dempster Highway so higher prices were expected.  Then we had some time to relax and enjoy the nice sunny day in Inuvik.

Our view from RV park
The first thing we would do when we arrived in Inuvik would be some cleaning after that dusty drive as well as some laundry at their facilities in the park.  We did some shopping and some wandering around town but our visit timing had been planned for the Great Northern Arts Festival.

Dancers welcome us
The Great Northern Arts Festival has been held annually since 1989 and is the largest annual tourist event in this vast Delta.  The majority of these incredible artists were from Canada’s north.  We were there for the opening ceremonies and I sure was wishing I had a video camera for the drums and dance.  It was totally enjoyable and the highlight of my visit, for sure!  The Festival was held in the Inuvik Family Centre, which is a great recreational facility and part of the Midnight Sun Recreation Complex.  

Inuksuk in Inuvik, NWT
This large inuksut sits outside the Mackenzie Hotel in Inuvik.  It means “something which acts or performs the function of a person” and was the symbol used for navigation, camps or anything wishing to be noted. It has become a Canadian national symbol for many different places and events.  The Inuksut, pronounces ‘inukshut’ was used in the logo for the 2010 Winter Olympics, and became a very popular souvenir for many. 

Utilidors in Inuvik, NWT
Something we'd not seen elsewhere is Inuvik’s utilidors.  These are above ground utility conduits for water and sewage.  The lines are covered by corregated steel and connect most buildings in town.  They are necessary because of the permafrost conditions, which would prevent underground lines.

Sights in Inuvik, NWT
The Visitor Center had some great displays, one of the muskox which was not something we were able to see in the wild on our travels.  The Our Lady of Victory Church, often referred to as the Igloo Church was an interesting sight to see and a big attraction in Inuvik.

Our certificate
We visited the Town Hall where we were given a free souvenir pin.  We also received this certificate which verifies our travels up the Dempster Highway and another which gives us an Exclusive Lifetime Membership in the Order of Arctic Adventurers!  We drove a long way for this certificate, lol.  

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